Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Report: Duncan Street Halifax


Halloween with Black Bart's Flag on Duncan Street

For the last 18 years I have tracked the Halloween costumes that come to my doorstep on Duncan Street in West End Halifax. You can see the reports from 2014 here and 2013 here. This year the numbers were up for the third year in a row, although my favourite category pirates was still only modestly represented.

TOTAL: 101

Past Totals-
2014: 97;  2013: 80;  2012: 50!;  2011: 80;  2010: 88;  2009: 99;  2008: 103;  2007: 125;  2006: 168;   2005: 187;  2004: 184;  2003: 187;   2002: 193;  2001: 152;  2000: 171;  1999-175;  1998-160;  1996-215

First Caller:  5:45 p.m.
Peak: 7:00
Last Caller:   8:45 p.m.

Alice in Wonderland: 1
Anoymous/V for Vendatta/hacker: 1
Apes: 2
Astronaut (nice homemade costume): 1

Baby: 4
Bat: 1
Batman: 4
Bug: 1
Bunny Rabbit: 1

Camp fire: 1
Cat woman: 1
Chase (cartoon character): 1
Clowns: 2
Commando: 1
CBC Cowboy: 1
Curious George: 1

Darth Vader: 3
Dead Prom Queen: 1
Dead dog: 1
Dead Mouse (DJ): 1
Dinosaur: 1
Doll: 1
Draculaura: 1
Dragon: 1

Ever-after High character: 1

Frog: 1

Ghosts: 2
Grim Reaper (really into role): 1

Halo character: 1
Horsehead: 1
Hospital patient: 1

Knights (terrific home-made costumers): 2

Ladybug: 1
Lightning McQueen (Cars character, homemade costume): 1

Masquerade mask: 1
Michael Jackson: 1
Monster: 1
Monster head (great papier mache head): 1
Monster, 4 eyed (great make up): 1

Nurse: 1
Ninjas:  5
Ninja turtles: 3

Pirates: 3 (all female)
Police Officer: 1
Pumpkin (6 months old!): 1
Princesses: 2
Princess: (Aurora): 1

Pyjama Party: 1

Skeletons: 4
Sky, helicopter pilot: 1
Serial Killer: 1
Snowman (Olaf): 1
Snowman (Frosty): 1
Spiderman (classic): 1
Spiderman (dark): 1
Squid (nice home-made): 1
Stormtrooper (Star Wars): 1
Superman: 1
Super Mario: 2
Super Tag (home-made superhero character): 1
Swamp monster: 1
SWAT Team: 1

Tiger: 1

Vampires: 6
Vintage Clothing: 1
Witches: 5
Yugio: 1

Zombie: 1
Zombie construction worker: 1
Zombie basketball player (really into role): 1

Home-made Costumes: 23
 
Best Overall Costumes:
* Campfire, lighted skirt, firewood belt with marshmallow head.
* Two knights, personally designed coat of arms, cool helmets.
* A wonderful home-made bat costume with wings made from umbrellas.
* A CBC cowboy – great cowboy costume with CBC bandana.
* Impressive home-made astronaut costume.
* Amazing papier mache monster head.
* Beautiful Dead Mouse DJ with lighted ears.

Costume Trends:

1) Classic vampires were the top costume, often with impressive make-up.
2) Classic witches were close second.
3) Far fewer princess costumes than past years.
4) Lots of Ninjas.
5) An increase in skeletons.
6) No devils.
7) No generic ghoul masks.
8) Not as many super heroes as in past years, but Batman clearly tops.
9) No Cross Dressers.
10) Many parents, about half, were, wearing costumes, up from past years.
Two moms dressed as Princess Leia with sons dressed as Darth Vader.
11) Fewer older trick or treaters – and no surly un-costumed teenagers.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halifax Halloween Survey 2014: Pirates are Back!


Halloween from my window on Duncan Street

I have conducted a census of Halloween costumes as they have come to my doorstep on Duncan Street in West End Halifax for 18 years.

There was good news this year. Numbers were up, after more than a decade of decline. Also welcome news to someone who has written a history of Canadian piracy, pirates were back with a vengeance. Last year there weren't any, but this year they were the most popular costume. For comparison, see Last Year's Halloween Report. I like the whimsey and imagination of Halloween and enjoy trick-or-treaters as a kind of random theatre that tells us something about our communities. In that line by the way, the Nova Scotia Museum's history curator Martin Hubley has done a great blog post about Nova Scotia Halloween decorations from decades past.

Now to the numbers! We had 97 trick-or-treaters, up from 80 last year and showing a clear recovery from their all-time low of 50 in 2012. A Friday night Halloween helped, but a more significant factor is probably an increase in families with Halloween-aged children on our street. The weather was also fine, although I generally find little correlation between weather and the number of trick-or-treaters.

Here are some other trends that we observed:
  1. A dramatic drop in princesses, only one, aside from zombie and vampire princesses, down from six last year. Could princess culture be waning, or at least diversifying?
  2. Perhaps princess costumes were supplanted by the Disney film Frozen and Hunger Games costumes which were popular with girls.
  3. Various Star Wars characters popular with boys.
  4. Classic vampires, grim reapers and ghouls remained popular.
  5. The usual selection of superheroes and video game characters but no Spiderman, a big costume in years past.
  6. A larger numbers of parents in costume, plus a great dog costume.
  7. No surly, un-costumed teenagers – once a late night constant.
Best Overall Costumes:
  1. Giant Eyeball – well done using a Japanese lantern and bloody dangling optic nerve
  2. Octopus – homemade with working arms
  3. Vending machine – with real candy
  4. Tiger – well acted
  5. Ghostbusters – fetching homemade outfits
First Caller:  5:58 p.m.
Peak:            7:30 p.m.
Last Caller:   9:50 p.m.

A later start and finish, likely due to a Friday night Halloween (no school tomorrow.)

Here are the complete numbers:

Total - 97

Past Totals
2013: 80
2012: 50
2011: 80
2010: 88
2009: 99
2008: 103
2007: 125
2006: 168
2005: 187
2004: 184
2003: 187
2002: 193
2001: 152
2000: 171
1999-175
1998-160
1996-215

Costume Breakdown

Angel: 1
Baby: 1
Basketball Player: 1
Batman: 2
Brownie: 1
Butterfly: 1

Cat: 2
Cat in the hat: 1
Caterpillar: 1
Cheerleader: 1
Clone trooper (Star Wars): 1
Convict: 1
Cow: 1
Cowgirl: 2 (1 with horse)
Cowboy: 1

Dancing Red M&M: 1
Dementor (Harry Potter character): 1
Death: 1
Demon: 1
Devil: 1
Dinosaurs: 2
Dorothy (from Oz): 1
Dog: 1
Dog dressed as dinosaur: 1

Egyptian Goddess: 1
Eyeball: 1
Equestrian: 1

Fairy: 1
Frozen characters: 2 (Anna & Elsa)

Ghoul Masks: 1
Ghosts: 1
Ghostbusters!: 2
Gorilla: 1
Grim Reaper: 2

Hello Kitty: 1:
Hobbit: 1
Hulk Hand: 1
Hunger Games characters: 2
Hunter (no gun): 1

Jester: 1

Ladybug: 1
Leopard: 1
Luke Skywalker: 2:

Mad Hatter: 1
Mask: 1
Millionaire: 1
Minecraft character: 1
Monster Inc. characters: 2
Model: 1

Octopus: 1
Owl: 1

Phantom: 1
Pirates: 7 !
Pokémon: 1
Power Rangers: 2
Princesses: 1

Raggedy Ann: 1
Robber: 1

Scream Ghouls masks: 2
Skull Commando: 1
Skeleton: 1
Sorcerer: 1
Superman: 1
Supergirl: 1
Super Mario: 1

Tiger: 1
Transformer (Bee): 2

Vampires: 1
Vampire Princess: 1
Vending Machine: 1

Werecat: 1
Witches: 4

Zombie: 2
Zombie Princess: 1

My thanks to survey associates Patricia Acheson, Mary Louise Conlin and Bruce MacDougall!
Halloween Census Headquarters